Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

GCC countries learn lessons in education from Singapore

Singapore's success has prompted several Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the emirate of Abu Dhabi to seek its advice on teaching techniques, curriculum and education process.
Just a tiny speck on the world map, Singapore is commonly referred to locally as the "Little Red Dot" - yet the South East Asian nation has clearly left its mark on the international education arena.

Its success has prompted several Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the emirate of Abu Dhabi to seek its advice on teaching techniques, curriculum and education process.

Singapore's National Institute of Education (NIE) has worked with Abu Dhabi for more than a decade, and helped establish the Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) in 2008. The college is primarily devoted to training Emirati teachers.

It also helped set up the Bahrain Teachers' College, a training institute modelled after the NIE, which aims to educate teachers and reform the kingdom's public schools.

NIE also partnered with King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, to develop and train them and advise them on reforms in maths and science curriculum development. Hundreds of Saudi national trainers have been sent to Singapore for professional development, so they can return to the kingdom to train their educators locally.

Oman sent groups of school leaders to Singapore to undertake executive programmes for education, said Prof Lee Sing Kong, who from 2006-2014 was the director of NIE, part of the Nanyang Technologial University.

The partnerships with the Gulf took place during the tenure of Prof Lee who believes that "one very key area they are emulating is to raise up the quality of the schoolteachers and the school leaders".

"You can have the best of curriculum, you can have the best of infrastructures, but if you don't have quality teachers in the classroom, nothing will come into fruition."

jtan@thenational.ae

Updated: September 7, 2016 04:00 AM

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